This sounds like pure speculation to us – but The Independent is reporting on rumours that the UK-based worldwide mobile operator is considering acquiring Research in Motion (RIM) – the makers of the BlackBerry phones loved by business people and rioters alike.
The gossip seems to be quite broad, with “city voices” claiming that RIM may be a takeover target at the moment due to missing earnings forecasts, with other possible suitors named as Microsoft, Google, or Oracle. Rumours of the possible suitors followed earlier vague claims that the Canadian had asked an investment bank to consider various strategic options – the idea of which caused the company’s shares to jump nearly 10% on Wall Street.
Whilst RIM may become the target of an acquisition, I just don’t see any of the suitors named in this gossip as very likely at all. Google and Microsoft both have their own operating systems which they license to other manufacturers – and a move into handset manufacturing (of a different OS) doesn’t seem a great idea. Google recently purchased Motorola Mobility (the manufacturer of Motorola mobile phones) – and that has caused friction with other manufacturers using Android. Buying a manufacturer that doesn’t even use their OS would be bizarre.
Oracle currently have no horse in the mobile arena, and haven'[t made any claims that they plan to move in that direction either.
That leaves Vodafone – which would make an interesting suitor as they could try to leverage the breadth of their worldwide network and BlackBerry’s business integration to become the business mobile phone operator worldwide. Whether people would choose Vodafone over choosing a different handset manufacturer though is a difficult question.